Back Up and Running…
Highclere’s Jason Fildes reflects on the past few months in the racing industry and reveals how a new two-year-old colt, Lauded, fared in his first race
What an extraordinary time it has been – and for the racing industry too!
There was no racing in the UK from mid-March and now we have re-started, it’s racing behind closed doors with the only people allowed to go to the racecourse being officials, vets, doctors, stable hands, trainers and jockeys. I haven’t been yet but those who have say it is a very strange experience.
Despite stables being locked down (like everyone else) during this time, horses have continued to be trained in the normal way, being ridden out every morning by a dedicated team of stable staff, most of whom lived on site to ensure nobody came in or out. It’s been a lot of hard work, but it did mean that when we resumed racing everyone was ready to go.
Even though we’ve hardly been able to see him in the flesh, we have a new two-year-old colt named Lauded. He is owned by the Manor House syndicate, all 10 of whom live here in the North West.
Luckily, we were provided with updates and videos about his progress from trainer Tom Dascombe in Cheshire. Suddenly, those reports became quite positive and by the end of May, Tom phoned to say Lauded was ready to make his race course debut and they were looking for opportunities as soon as racing restarted. However, so was every other trainer which meant every race was extremely competitive. Tom entered him in a Haydock novice with a few expensive Newmarket-trained horses and while we hoped for the best, it was certainly a major shock – and thrilling, to see him win by over four lengths!
We all watched on TV at home and the WhatsApp group chat exploded after the race, especially when it was announced his next race would be 12 days later in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot!
There was further excitement as a week before the race an offer came in from the Middle East to buy Lauded – at nearly 10 times what we had paid for him. It was too good an offer to ignore but everyone had joined the syndicate to have fun, so it was a difficult decision… we took the middle ground and sold half of him.
It was an unbelievably exciting run up to Ascot with zoom calls, daily reports from the trainer and top hats worn at home on the day!
Lauded finished seventh – on ground softer than he likes, having looked the likely winner at the 2f pole.
It has not all been about Lauded though, as Thunderous, trained by Mark Johnston in Middleham, put his unbeaten record on the line at Newmarket, where he finished second, running a superb race after a long lay-off.
I’m also pleased to say that Digital has made a promising start with two second place finishes at Newcastle and Doncaster.
Racing life is beginning to get back to normal with stable visits for groups of six allowed and two owners per horse can go racing. We’ve got some really promising horses to look forward to for the rest of the year, especially a sweet filly named Immaculate who will be having her first run soon.
Highclere – Jason Fildes